CIA takes to online video on YouTube to help explain its mission

The Central Intelligence Agency, which makes its living working on the QT, has revamped its website to include links to a YouTube channel with historical and current videos of the agency (check out this one on a "Dragonfly Insectohopter" designed to "deliver acoustic intercept devices to the vicinity of targets").

It's also added photos to a Flickr site, has links to a kids' section, and even a slideshow on its home page.

"The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the Agency available to more people, more easily," CIA Director Leon Panetta said. "The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe."

Although the Central Intelligence Agency's mission has always hinged on secrecy, the spy service is conscious of its public image--partly for recruiting reasons--and in recent years has added games and links for children on its website.

The CIA's new YouTube channel will offer "current and historical videos about the agency" and its Flickr site provides links to "copyright-free pictures from for easy access," the agency said.

The CIA's reputation suffered under former president George W. Bush, with the agency condemned for alleging Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war and for employing harsh interrogation tactics against terror suspects that rights groups said amounted to torture.

For more:
- see this release
- watch this video